Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Margaret McFall-Ngai waxing on the Beauty of Small Things


Published on Apr 3, 2015
Recent technological advances have presented a new view of the world to biologists, one in which obligate alliances between animals and microbes are the rule rather than the exception. The microbial partners, while sometimes occurring at such densities as to be visible to the naked eye, are often best studied with the use of powerful microscopes. The combination of the subject matter and the microscopic methods render the images startlingly beautiful.

In a November 2014 lecture at Mann Library, Margaret McFall Ngai reflects on new research that has dramatically changed our understanding of the ways in which microbes are crucial to the well-being of plants and animals, and explores the new ways that both scientists and artists are finding to express the beauty of this symbiotic relationship.

Dr. McFall Ngai is Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and affiliate professor at the University of Hawaii. One of the foremost life scientists in the fields of immunology, symbiosis, and marine biology, she is also serving as Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University through 2017.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My talk at the Early Career Scientists Symposium on The Ecology and Evolution of the Microbiome

The microbiome is arguably one of the hottest areas in biology today. On March 28, 2015, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan recognized the basic sciences of this burgeoning discipline and hosted an exciting international symposium for young scientists about the ecological and evolutionary processes of the microbiome. Several early career scientists who are at the forefront of studying ecosystems within organisms were invited to present their work and to participate in panel discussions. A summary of the event's common themes, advantages for young scientists, and future outlook can be found at the University of Michigan's Program in Biology site. The early career presenters were Drs. Katherine Amato, Justine Garcia, Andrea Jani, Kevin Kohl, Angela Poole, Rachel Vannette, Kelly Weinersmith. The keynote speakers were Georgianna May and myself. I really enjoyed talking with everyone, and it appears that Georgianna and I may embark on a publication together as a result of this meeting. Meeting host Kevin Theis and I are also writing a paper entitled Host Biology in Light of the Microbiome: Ten Principles of the Hologenome. More to come.  

I lost my voice the day before this seminar, so raspy and all....I talk about Charles Darwin, Ivan Wallin, The Modern Synthesis, and how the microbiome fits seamlessly into the origin of species.